Establishing Healthy Eating Habits While Aging in Place
Establishing Healthy Eating Habits While Aging in Place
More and more elderly people are discovering that aging in place is a viable option. If you are a senior who is thinking of choosing this living arrangement, though, you need to make sure that aging in place won’t pose any difficulties when it comes to your health. This, of course, includes fulfilling your nutritional needs.
Seniors are capable of sticking to a clean diet even without residing in an assisted living environment where meals are planned and taken care of. So, by stocking up on the right food and establishing healthy eating habits, you can ensure that you are getting the nutrition that you need.
Why Feeding Your Body Right is Crucial
When you fuel your body with healthy food, you are not just getting the nutrition you need to survive. Rather, you are also getting what you need to improve your quality of life. A clean diet is one of your greatest weapons against diseases since it can boost your immunity, keep your body and mind strong, and help you maintain a healthy weight.
Eating nutritious food as opposed to junk will also make you more capable of staying active and feel more comfortable in your body. This will give you the energy and mental disposition you need to enjoy your senior years.
What Seniors Should Have in Their Diets
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
A lot of people over 60 make it a point to eat food with omega-3 fatty acids, which helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and fight age-related decline in brain function. Aside from this, it also has tons of benefits related to heart health.
You can find omega-3 fatty acids in many fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines. It is present in oysters as well. If you are on a plant-based diet or not fond of seafood, you can also get these fatty acids from soybeans, flax seeds, and walnuts.
Fruits and Vegetables
Eating your fruits and veggies has always been important. However, it is especially crucial to do so when you are aging, because these foods are packed with nutrients that can boost your immunity and overall health.
Leafy green veggies are especially great for your cognitive health, which is important to look out for among seniors. Additionally, dark-skinned fruits and berries have higher nutrient content and more antioxidants compared to other fruits.
Calcium is crucial to keep your bones strong and maintain muscle function. These health considerations are especially important in seniors who need to keep their mobility in check.
Make sure to have enough dairy products, such as milk and cheese, in your diet. Nuts, tofu, soy products, and green leafy veggies like broccoli and cabbage are also great sources of calcium for those who are vegan or lactose intolerant.
Keeping Up With Healthy Eating Habits
When you are aging in place instead of a nursing home, you don’t have a specific routine or meal plan that you need to adhere to. While this is great in terms of having independence, it can be difficult to eat clean when you are the one in charge of planning and preparing your meals.
Here are some tips that can help you stay motivated to eat healthy while aging in place and overcome challenges you might encounter:
For many people, food brings a sense of community. This shouldn’t change even if you are living alone as you age in place.
If you find yourself stuck in a mental rut that makes you want to just order fast food or eat a prepackaged microwave meal instead of cooking, invite friends and family to cook and eat with you from time to time. You can also go to or organize a potluck. Sharing food with others will motivate you to make home-cooked meals more, and it will also make the task more enjoyable and fulfilling.
If the thought of preparing and cooking food three times a day is too overwhelming, you can always try meal planning. This refers to cooking or preparing big batches of food in one go and placing them in the fridge or freezer. This way, you can just microwave your meals or heat them in a pan with minimal preparation in the days to come.
To avoid getting tired of your food, dedicate a day for meal planning so that you have more time to make an assortment of meals rather than just several servings of one meal.
These services may be on the pricier side, but if you are willing to spend extra cash, check out companies that plan meals around your dietary needs for you. Many of these companies prepare healthy, portion-controlled meals and have them delivered to you each day for a week or however long you need them.
While this may not be the most sustainable option, it’s a healthy alternative to takeout or processed food since it is a convenient fix for when you don’t have the energy to cook for the week.
When you’re preparing meals for yourself, there are a lot of considerations to think about, such as budgeting, nutritional needs, and cooking and prep time. So, having to think about when your produce is going bad can add to that stress, especially since some of them can rot pretty fast. To be able to stock up in batches without wasting food, buy some of your produce frozen. They will be easy to store, won’t go bad for months, and they have as much nutrients and calories as their fresh counterparts.
Not only do you need exercise in addition to a clean diet to remain healthy, but being physically active in itself can also help you eat more food when you’re having difficulty with your appetite. Many seniors experience a decrease in appetite as they get older. While there are many possible reasons and solutions for this, one way to increase your appetite is to get your body moving.
The best way to successfully establish healthy eating patterns while aging in place is to consult a health professional. Having to think about whether or not you can have a certain food item all the time can be overwhelming, so having someone who can clear all that up for you beforehand will make meal planning and sticking to a diet easier.
Getting nutrition may be easier when you’re in an assisted living community, but that doesn’t mean you can’t eat as healthy when you’re aging in place. As long as you take the time to form eating habits that work for you and your health, you will be able to fuel yourself with a nutrition-packed diet from the comfort of your own home.